Photo credit: Lucy Higgins
Lauren Trend founded Australia-based Self Practice, an online platform that explores the intersection of art, design, and well-being, to create an intentional space for creative and personal exploration. A year after launch, Lauren began scaling her content strategy — which started with free weekly resources — to include paid online workshops and tools, and a range of content that has meant the platform can stay self-funded and free of advertisements.
Trend talked with Squarespace about how she’s grown her platform, what inspires her content creation, and how encouraging visitors to invest in self-exploration has enabled her to expand Self Practice’s offerings.
Squarespace: You’ve built a uniquely therapeutic platform that offers design-driven resources for self exploration. What inspired you to launch Self Practice?
Lauren Trend: With an academic background in design and an interest in intersectional well-being, Self Practice became a channel of inquiry for not only myself, but for others as well, to explore intersectional well-being, through a lens of art and design.
I felt increasingly tired of the age-old “tortured-artist” dogma, and wanted to create a space that talked about practices that pertained to creative, physical and emotional well-being in equal measure.
At the core of all that we do, is the belief that taking care of ourselves is both a catalyst of, and conduit for, creative practice. The two aren’t, and should never have been, mutually exclusive.
Since its inception, Self Practice has given a platform to creatives from all over the globe to share their respective views, experiences, and practices that pertain to the notion of intersectional well-being.
We have since expanded from our editorial roots — now offering books, tools, workshops and in-depth resources for those eager to explore their relationship with and towards their own self-practice.
SQSP: Your website includes free blog posts, and tools like online courses and physical workbooks. What informs your decision-making around content creation?
LT: We do our best to make the majority of our content accessible for anyone who chooses to engage with Self Practice via any of our online platforms.
After operating for just under twelve months as a primarily editorial site, the introduction of digital and analogue Tools such as our Online Workshops and Workbooks have been a for-profit pathway for us to remain entirely self-funded, free of external advertising and continue to create meaningful, useful and accessible content for our community at large.
Our content is largely inspired by not only what I have found to be personally useful in my own life, but by our communities' needs. We’re constantly receiving invaluable feedback and we take great pride in being able to offer resources that make a meaningful and tangible difference in people's lives.
SQSP: How do you balance free resources with revenue-driving content?
LT: It’s an ongoing discussion as to how we best do so, but I have always leaned on my intuitive understanding of what information needs to be offered to our community for free and what areas of exploration would be better engaged with if an investment was made from the person choosing to explore a particular offering.
From personal experience, if I am engaging with a resource concerned with my personal development and growth, I’m far more likely to engage with it without distraction, but purpose and intent, if I have made an investment in it, and in turn myself.
In addition to providing free content each week, to ensure that our communities' needs are met, we introduced our Every Body Program — an initiative both that gifts and offers sizable discounts on all of our for-profit physical products and digital resources. This ensures that typically marginalized members of our community receive prioritized access to any of our resources they’ve identified would benefit them in some way.
SQSP: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who want to use content as a tool to scale?
You can never go wrong if you’re drawing from personal experience, but make sure that your experience isn’t the only one you’re concerned about sharing, or learning from.
Share your content with trusted friends, mentors or peers before launching and be open to receiving feedback. All great ideas require fine tuning.
People don’t need more digital noise. Your community will know when you’re creating content for the sake of creating content. Speak only when you have something meaningful to share.
SQSP: How do you see your platform evolving in the future?
I think the most rewarding part of being self-funded and independently operated is that anything is possible. Creating a business that is able to change and grow alongside me has always been important to me and I’m grateful to have built that within the walls of Self Practice.
In the coming months, we’re excited to explore some cross-brand collaborations, launch a few new Online Workshops and will always do our best to continue to provide our community with content that inspires.
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